Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A (Brooklyn A) is one of the few legal services organizations in the country to develop and sustain a neighborhood-based Community and Economic Development (CED) Program. For more than four decades it has represented thousands of nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) and community development corporations (CDCs). Our CED attorneys provide CBOs and CDCs with ongoing, comprehensive legal counsel in their daily operation and functioning and at all stages of project and program development. With our CED attorneys’ assistance, our clients are able to increase their organizational strength, the effectiveness of the services they deliver, and their ability to meet their community’s needs.
The groups we represent seek to create, develop, and operate new and rehabilitated affordable housing; provide high quality health care services; develop community-wide sustainable development strategies; provide support and educational services to youth from infancy through college; and generally work for social and economic justice in local low-income communities. Our partnerships create minority and community-owned businesses and jobs. Many of our CED clients have incorporated “green” building and the concept of sustainable development into their projects. Find more information about our Green Building Law and Justice Project here.
Our local partnerships are longstanding, with most collaborations persisting for two decades or more. These relationships enable Brooklyn A to serve as the legal catalyst fueling community-initiated projects that create critical infrastructure and improve the quality of life for struggling New York City families.
DIRECT CLIENT SERVICES
Brooklyn A’s CED attorneys, as in-house and special project counsel, offer nonprofit clients ongoing, long-term representation that encompasses the full range of services that private sector corporations routinely receive from their corporate counsel. Our attorneys act as counselors, negotiators, tacticians, strategists and troubleshooters.
The transactional legal services we provide include:
- Real estate, including pre-development coordination and title and finance closings
- The drafting and negotiation of contracts
- Regulatory representation and negotiations with governmental authorities
- Advice and council with regard to public and private financing
- Corporate and tax advice
- Environmentally sustainable development
- Employee relations
- Corporate formation, including incorporation, obtaining tax-exempt status and organizational structuring
- Litigation, in limited circumstances
COMMUNITY PARTNERS and CLIENTS
Brooklyn A partners with CBOs in order to achieve success. Our current community partners include:
- African American Planning Commission, Inc.
- Arts East New York, Inc.
- The Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, Inc.
- Borough Development Group
- Brownsville Community Development Corporation
- Churches United for Fair Housing
- Community Services Housing Development Corporation
- Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Inc.
- Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation
- Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation
- Southside United Housing Development Fund Corporation (Los Sures)
- Trey Whitfield School
- Urban Health Plan, Inc.
To see an ongoing listing of all our partners, please click here.
PRO BONO PARTNERSHIPS
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP: Every four months an associate from the firm join’s Brooklyn A’s CED team for an externship, helping to expand our capacity to provide transactional legal services. The extern works full-time (five days a week) and gains direct experience working on public interest law with the CED Program.
We partner with many firms on a pro-bono basis; see a full listing of all on-going pro-bono partnerships click here.
Our attorneys provide legal representation and support for community-led efforts to remedy social and economic inequalities. Highlights have included:
Health and Jobs
Brownsville Community Development Corporation
In the early 1990’s, Brooklyn A worked closely with the Brownsville Community Development Corporation (BCDC), also known as the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center (BMS), in creating a community-based nonprofit health center. Brooklyn A assisted BCDC with accessing funding for the construction of this health care center through the use of the first New York State tax exempt bond financing for a Community Health Center. This financing model, innovatively utilized by Brooklyn A and our client, resulted in the creation of the Primary Care Development Corporation which has enabled BCDC and dozens of other health care centers to expand their facilities. BCDC provides critical health care services to thousands of individuals each year from eight different facilities – all of which have been created with Brooklyn A’s legal representation. Because of the expansion, BCDC has provided crucial health services in addition to becoming the second largest private employer in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
Through its recently completed project, “Moving Towards a 21st Century Medical Home,” the BCDC engaged in 2009-2013 in a multi-site capital expansion and improvement project to increase its primary care capacity in the high needs communities of Brownsville and East New York. The project involved the construction of a brand new dental site and a large satellite health center in East New York, and the renovation of existing health and wellness facilities. CED program representation of BCDC in this project involved the preparation and negotiations of architectural, construction and real estate documents as well as the structuring and preparation of the financing documents which blended the sources of public and private support for this large multi-site expansion undertaking. In addition to increasing access to high-quality services for more than 25,000 existing users, this project expanded services to over 14,000 additional users.
Urban Health Plan, Inc.
Brooklyn A recently served as counsel to UHP in the expansion of its central health center, El Nuevo San Juan Health Center, located at 1065 Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx. In 2011-2012, Brooklyn A represented UHP and its nonprofit subsidiary (the Foundation for Urban Health and Well Being, Inc.) in successfully closing a private construction loan, federal, state and city governmental grants and a New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) syndication financing for the new and expanded health center. The expansion of the center was completed in 2014 and has included the renovation of the fourth floor of its existing site, converting administrative space into a patient treatment area and the construction of a new 59,500 sq. ft. wing on its adjoining property which fronts on Simpson Street. This enabled UHP to increase its annual patient visits by more than 80,000 in the first year after construction completion, and is projected to increase by at least 180,000 five years after construction completion.
In 2014, Brooklyn A advised UHP on the close-out of the construction of the main health care site and represented them in a new private loan closing to finance the renovation of four additional satellite offices (e.g., negotiation of the terms of the commercial loan, environmental remediation evaluation, insurance, title issues and obtaining consents of existing mortgages and regulatory bodies, and representation in loan closing).
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Inc.
In 2000-2010, Brooklyn A’s CED attorneys served as counsel to a local coalition of parents and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Inc. (CHLDC), participating in a citywide coalition that included the support of New Visions for Public Schools, whose task was to create new mechanisms to fund and produce additional school capacity. Cypress Hills Community School operated within other school buildings and did not have a permanent home; the school also lacked access to a gym, library and auditorium. Looking to aid the CHLDC in expanding their capacity, the CED attorneys represented CHLDC on this project for over a decade. Through community advocacy and negotiations with the New York City Department of Education and New York City School Construction Authority, the City constructed a brand new building in 2010, pursuant to a long-term lease secured by the CED attorneys. The Cypress Hills Community School now serves over 400 pre-kindergarten to eighth grade children a year. It is also the first green public school building in Brooklyn.
Trey Whitfield School
Beginning in June of 2014 and into 2015, the CED program represented the Trey Whitfield School on a successful tax-exempt bond financing closing; the proceeds of which enabled the school to retire prior outstanding bonds and refinance a taxable loan that had financed the acquisition, renovation, improvement and equipping of its school facility. The refinancing made it possible for the School to lower its operating costs and devote more of its dollars to direct student services. The school serves approximately 250 students.
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Inc.
In 2012, Brooklyn A represented CHLDC in its title transfer/construction loan closing and low-income housing tax credit syndication of Cypress Village, and in 2015 represented in the conversion of the project’s construction loans to permanent loans. Cypress Village involved the construction of three buildings (28 very low-income rental units and one super unit) on three non-contiguous parcels in the Cypress Hills neighborhood of East New York. The project incorporated green design and construction, and included CHLDC’s first modular construction project.
In October 2015, Brooklyn A and CHLDC closed on the Cypress Hills Senior Housing Project, which has been years in the making. Brooklyn A represented CHLDC in the title transfer/construction loan and low income housing tax credit syndication in a project with Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) construction financing . This project is the first affordable senior housing in the Cypress Hills neighborhood, and the last “Section 202” closing in the pipeline for the New York Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as it sunsets this program nationally. Construction of the Cypress Hills Senior Housing Project has begun and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2017, which will result in 53 one-bedroom apartments. The apartments will be rented to low-income senior citizens earning up to 50% of the Area Median Income as defined by HUD.
Brooklyn A represented CHLDC in various pre-development aspects of the project, including the negotiation and drafting of a demolition and remediation contract, license agreements with the City of New York, the drafting and ongoing administration of their architect contract, the drafting of the construction contract, the preparation of the property management agreement, the formation of the various subsidiaries needed for the Project including the title holding Housing Development Fund Corporation, and the Limited Partnership for bringing low-income housing tax credits into the financing. The CED team will continue to support and advise CHLDC throughout the construction, lease-up and operation of the project.